Living on the farm, our family knew the frailty of life. One poisoned pond could destroy innocent animals; one storm could destroy crops and one flame, a forest.
The biggest battle was that of saving the farm from inheritance taxes. Armed, Momma put her prayers in action. Like a championed coach pushing for potentials, she challenged the land with everything from watermelons, to truck cropping, to a hunting preserve, to forestry, and formed her own business in accounting.
The land has become more than home to her; it is her office in life. It provides the family, but more importantly, it teaches about God and life.
Even the hunters and clients who come with their expectations will find the land and Momma have something to offer: If it is beauty, they will see it. If it is rest, they will find it. If it is excitement, they will catch it.
Whether stringing tobacco or farming, cleaning quail or cooking a Southern Smorgasbord, Momma is happiest when she gives. In return, her radiance brings admiration to her Maker. Like a flower in the field, Momma has a pleasant personality that causes others to pause and smell the fragrance.
Excerpts: Rum Gully Roots
Daddy plowed Nellie. I followed Daddy and walked his footprints. He patched his shoes with rope. I pretended he was a giant. Only a giant could walk that far apart. He smoked a pipe and would blow rings as he puffed. When I had earaches he would blow the warm smoke into my ears. It felt so good. He taught me to plow Nellie. The commands were Gee for right and HAW for left. Daddy had a bad temper. One day Nellie hawed instead of geed. Daddy jumped up and bit Nellie in the neck and held on like a bulldog. Nellie was swinging him back and forth as he held on, with his feet flapping in the breeze.
Momma stood, shaking her head, muttering something about the sins of The Bell Temper. I regret to inform the public that I inherited said Bell Temper. I have lost and won many battles of which is another story I may never share.
Daddy made the blackberry and grape wine in the corn house. As the liquid fermented, I would stand and smell the sweet aroma. Afterwards I would exit the corn house, staggering, laughing and singing to the top of my voice. Oh, I slept so well.
Daddy asked me to gather the eggs and check on the chicks that had just been hatched. I ignored him and went on with my playing. I got mad and threw an egg at him. The whipping I received taught me a lesson. No more throwing eggs at him! Momma wanted me to pull up peanuts. I was too busy. I saw her coming with a switch. I ran into the house and squirted toothpaste on her. I couldn't sit down for hours. I was supposed to shovel the outhouse. I lied and told Daddy that I had already done that chore. When he found out that I had lied, I got a blistering by a hand as big as King King's. I was moping the floor and a cat walked on my freshly mopped floor. I threw the cat in the well. Momma cut my behind while the cat swam around in our drinking water, trying not to drown. I hid the hoe so I wouldn't have to hoe the garden. I couldn't sit for days. Old pet, our cow kicked me while I was milking her. I threw the pail of milk on Old Pet. Momma whipped me and made me shovel the outhouse, even though I had done that the day before. I hoed a row of butterbeans completely bare, because I did not want to pick them. Momma whipped me until exhaustion and Daddy finished me off. I was a rascal and had a mind of my own. I look back and think of the things I did as a child and wonder how Momma and Daddy kept from suffering a break down.
There was a girl that rode my bus route. Her name was Mary. Almost everyone made fun of her because she was slightly retarded. I could be found in the principal's office every morning for beating up someone for bullying her.